Monday, February 3, 2014

A Perspective on Patience - On the journey toward publication 
Ever get tired of waiting?

In all honesty, I've been struggling a bit more than usual with the whole waiting-game, so my imaginary friends and I have had to give myself a sound pep-talk.

There are many amazing things about the writing journey.
- the camaraderie one creates with fellow writers
- the amazing stories born from your creative mind
- the act of learning through refinement of your skill
- the opportunity to get work done while sitting in your pjs and drinking tea (;-)

So many pros.

But within those pros, there are some struggles, and 'waiting' is one of them.
Lots of waiting.
Waiting for the contest results, waiting for inspiration, waiting for your crit partner's reaction to your work, waiting for an editor's response, waiting...waiting....waiting.

What brought this topic to mind for me today?

I've been writing stories for a long time. I have my first 'illustrated and typed' story from when I was ten (seen with my daughter in the picture to the right) and I completed my first 90K novel when I was 18 years old.

This weekend, while doing some cleaning, I found my very first contest entry form....from 2004 - 10 years ago. Ten years ago I began the journey toward publication.
The awareness of that, hit me directly in the insecurity.
10 years?
10 years and over 10 novels (7 of which will probably never see the light of an editor's desk :-)

Yet, here I am - still unpublished and still singing with the longing of a Disney Princess, Someday My Prints Will Come....

So what's the point of my sad sob story? :-)

I want to give you two secret super powers to help you play the waiting game with positivity: perspective and joy.

Focusing on what 'hasn't' happened is like seeing the 'witch' in this picture to your left. I only notice the bad things and my 'focus' gets stuck on the negative.

However, that's not the ONLY view I can take. If I change my 'perspective', I'll see the beauty in the picture.

A positive view.

Something that helps make sense of the journey in a way my negativity never could.

Perspective changes things - it leads us to realize at the bottom of all the waiting is an abiding joy in the journey
In the process of creating
In the adventure of that process
And in the purpose the process refines within us

When you are called to be a writer, you find joy in the journey. (even if you have to dig a little deeper sometimes to do it)

Is there frustration, rejection, anger, and sadness? Sure.
Have I wanted to quit before? Definitely

But here's the thing - deep down within us, stories keep forming. Characters keep developing, words dance, writhe, sing, and search through our thoughts waiting to be set free on the page.

Deep within our hearts, in a place where God kindles his gifts within us, there is a need to express this gift despite the frustrations, disappointments, and long waiting. To explode with creativity.


Because there is so much joy, wonder, amazement...almost a miracle, in the creative process.

If we jump way back to the beginning...and I mean the VERY beginning, God found joy in his creation. Lights, planets, animals, people... They were 'good'.

God's creative process flowed out of him in WORDS.
He didn't use a wand, a magical spell, or a potion.
He used words.
Like us. Writers!

I think at the heart of a writer, there is a particular calling to bring words to life. It burns so deeply within us, that even when we feel the ultimate discouragement, most painful rejection, or longest wait...the light of our inborn creativity still blinks into the darkness of our waiting.

It provides an element of hope to make the waiting bearable :-)

I may have to remind myself every day of the joy. Talk myself off the 'proverbial' ledge of quitting, or even find a good friend to remind me why I love what I do - but down deep, I's a part of me. A pulsing life of imagination formed within me (and you) by a loving Creator.

Find the positive view by renewing your mind with the truth of the gift God's given you!

How do you manage the waiting? Where do find the hope to turn your disappointments into opportunities of creativity?


Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Aww, Pepper, I have a feeling your wait time is going to be shorter than you think. ;)

For me, well, I still feel like a beginner just starting the journey. I only have one completed manuscript under my belt and I know I need many more before I even feel like I have "learned" the craft enough to write something worthy of other eyes. I may have one foot in the grave before I ever get published!

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Oh yes, good things come to those who wait! And don't we all secretly wish God's timing lined up with ours a little more often?

Love your heart here today! What a fantastic post! You are such a natural encourager, it's one of your many gifts! Live this line...A pulsing life of imagination formed within me (and you) by a loving Creator. Wow!

And btw... Could help but notice your mention of waiting for my feedback ;) sorry for the added torture. You know better than most about my twisty dark side ;) haha!!!

Pepper said...

I'm ever-hopeful, but I'm not going to get my hopes up too high for too soon.
However, the eternal optimist lives on

Btw - I'm glad to hear your starting back into the writing gig, yes? ;-)

Pepper said...

Waiting on your response is never torture because of the length of waiting.
For me, it's more of 'what did she think? what did she think? what did she think?" that kind of waiting.
Your life and mine are INSANE -so I do NOT send pressure your way for fast turnarounds. I just like to get your initial reaction to those baby-words on the page :-)

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Pepper, what a sweet, transparent, encouraging post. I loved this. For the record, I couldn't see the witch in the picture. I tried. But I've always had difficulty seeing the second/secret images in pictures. :)

But, I digress. These are touching words. I've struggled with discouragement a lot these past few weeks. I'm getting through it, but it's been difficult. This description you shared: "Deep within our hearts, in a place where God kindles his gifts within us, there is a need to express this gift despite the frustrations, disappointments, and long waiting. To explode with creativity." resonated with me.

This is the longest time period I've struggled with discouragement on the writing journey. I'm trying to press through it, rather than give in to the thought of giving up. I just can't. So, the alternative is to keep working in the areas where I can. I'm stuck on one story, so I'm working the characters for my next one.

The trick is to prevent the discouragement from sapping my creativity. That's the hard thing some days. I'll be coming back to this post. Thanks, Pepper!

PS I can't WAIT to read a Pepper Basham book. :)

Susan Anne Mason said...

You are so right about waiting, Pepper! I, too, had been at it over 10 years when I finally got a contract. Many of those years were filled with frustration, disappointment and rejection.

But when I finally realized that I would keep writing no matter what - because it gave me joy, then I seemed to take the pressure off myself. I also became very clear that I WOULD one day see my stories in print. I knew it would be in God's perfect timing and learned to just let go and kept writing.

Yes, you have to follow certain nudges as to which contest to enter, or which publisher to submit to. You even have to look outside your own rigid view of what your publishing life might look like. Anything and everything is possible.

And when you do accept a contract, there is still a lot more WAITING! LOL. So the pre-published arena prepares us for the reality of the publishing world. We wait for edits, wait for a cover, wait for galleys, wait for a release date and then wait UNTIL the release date! I could go on and on.

That's why you have to LOVE it ... and acquire lots of patience!

I love what you said: Because there is so much joy, wonder, amazement ... almost a miracle, in the creative process. This is so true!

Think of athletes - how long they train to make the World Championship or the Olympics. Then our journey won't seem quite as daunting! LOL!

Your time will come, Pepper, because I've read little bits and pieces of your work and know you are immensely talented! And when it does, you will be ready!


Susan Anne Mason said...

That's a lot of words for a Monday morning!

Angie Dicken said...

Beautiful, Pepper. You know me, I am not a very good wait-er...would that be waitress? I don't know. I just read Psalm 62 this morning and the word "hope" in it means, "a cord, as in attachment". More and more, I am starting to realize that my hope really only comes from Him. He is the One who spurs me on in times of waiting, grants me the peace to accept the rejection and keeps my eyes focused on Him alone. I need to cling to hope as if it's my lifeline to God...actually, it is! In God alone is there hope, creativity, and patience for the wait!

Ashley Clark said...

Oh Pepper, you have done it again. What a beautifully written post full of hope! I love what you said about perspective... and I laughed out loud when I read the line, "Someday my prints will come!" :)

Casey said...

I loved the "someday my prints will come" line too! And I agree with Sherrinda, it won't be long now friend. You have something not many writers can say: an editor in your corner and an agent that believes in your books. :-))

Loved this post. So much truth packed into it!

Julia M. Reffner said...

Love this! Love your perspective! I, too, don't think it will be long for you. :)

Great thoughts. The stage of life I'm in helps me to feel peaceful about waiting because I know I have the rest of my life to write (and I have a lot of growing to do before I'm ready for publication) but my littles will soon be "biggers".

Pepper said...

Sorry guys!
Just really sitting down at the computer after a long day :-)

Jeanne - I FEEL your pain, but thankfully we can look at those as growing pains as we stretch our muscles of writing.

Keeping perspective is so important, and having encouraging people around to help you is VITAL

Pepper said...

GOOD reminders. I know I've heard more than once from published authors that the waiting on the front end is good practice.

Pepper said...

Oh Ang,
He IS our hope. And keeping our eyes focused on Him helps ease the ache when this worlds drawstrings tighten around our hearts.
Even good gifts can become a noose when we reprioritize them. Boy, oh boy, do I KNOW that one! (and need to constantly remind myself and set my focus back on Him)

Pepper said...

I'm going to keep singing it until it happens.
If it worked for Cinderella....

Besides, throw in a fairy godmother (which may very well be named Julie Gwinn) and it just might work ;-)

Pepper said...

Thanks for your encouragement, Case. I'm trying really hard to keep a realistic view- but I love encouragers!!!